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Old 06-14-2012, 01:41 AM   #1
southlake333
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Jun 2012
LANTANA, TX
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Sooo...I recently bottled several 1 gallon sample batches of wine. Two were cider, one was welch's grape and one was welch's black cherry grape. Now that they have been bottled for a few days all I have to say is eww. The flavors are great but they are amazingly overloaded with sweetness. So let me explain what I did.

For the ciders, I sweetened each gallon with 1.5 cans of apple juice concentrate, then tasted. There was still a very bitter taste so I added half a cup of sugar. That sweetened it up just right (or so I thought). The SG was 1.020 of one and 1.024 of the other. Then I bottled. Now 4 days later they just taste like sugar.

For the Welch's I sweetened each with 1.5 cans of grape concentrate (no sugar). The black cherry wasn't quite done fermenting so it still had some original sugar in it (but these were tests anyway). The resulting SG was 1.034 for the grape and 1.042 for the black cherry grape. The grape was actually very good just too sweet as it was more like grape juice with a teeny after bite of alcohol. The black cherry grape just tasted like straight grape juice.

Now I don't like dry, I'm more of a wine cooler type person (I know, very manly) but obviously I went overboard on the sweetening. Its a good thing I made test batches so I don't ruin my 6 gallon cider or Welch's batches. But now I need to figure out what a correct SG is before I bottle the big batches.

So my questions are as follows:

#1 - Why do I actually feel the sugar in the cider when I take a sip? I only used a half cup but I didn't heat it in water first, I just threw it right in and mixed thoroughly.

#2 - I sweetened to where these all tasted good at bottling. Obviously that was wrong. How do I know when I've hit a good sweetness level that won't be overpowering as it ages and the alcohol bite recedes?

 
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Old 06-14-2012, 02:21 AM   #2
cyberlord
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Jan 2012
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My question to you is, did you stabilize or pasteurize these sweet bottles?

The sugar was not fully dissolved so you are feeling the granules.

Remember the acid/bitterness/alcohol will all meld/blend together as the wine/cider ages. Therefore it's better to bulk age for the recommended time for cider and wine then decide how much sweetness to add. After aging you'll be better able to tell how much sweetness you'll need.
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Old 06-14-2012, 11:10 AM   #3
roadymi
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Dec 2009
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As cyberlord said it is difficult to correctly sweeten a very young wine/cider.
As he implied.......I sure hope you stabilized well or you will have some major bottle bombs on your hands.

I also like my wines/ciders a bit sweeter than dry, however anything over 1.025 is generally in or approaching the desert category. I generally aim for 1.01-1.015. You have to make sure you stir well when backsweetening before testing sg.
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Old 06-14-2012, 02:05 PM   #4
southlake333
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Jun 2012
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Yep, I stabilized, waited a few days then bottled. I've been keeping a close eye on the bottles but I really don't expect these to last long enough to worry about bottle bombs. They were just early tests to make sure I don't screw up my larger batches that I'm taking full term. Glad I did too! I also did make sure I stirred in the sugar really well. But next time I think I'll dissolve in hot water to make a syrup rather than just dump n stir. Hopefully I won't feel the granules then.

I'm going to run another few 1 gallon tests and sweeten them to the 1.01 - 1.015 range, let them sit a few days and then try them. I'm hoping that'll give me a good comparison to choose what my final big batches will be sweetened to.

As for young wine vs aged (in the carboy)...At what point will it have aged enough to make sweetening easier?

 
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Old 06-14-2012, 02:24 PM   #5
cyberlord
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Jan 2012
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A lot of cider makers let their ciders age over the winter at a minimum and some through the spring of the following year.

For me, even though I've been drinking my cranberry cider 1 month after I pitched the yeast, I going to try to age the stuff 3 to 4 months. It should be fabulous by then if I can drink it now.

The best way to tell is to taste it every couple weeks or once a month until it starts to blend together. Once you are satisfied with the taste then start sweetening small samples until you get the balance you want. Measure the sample SG and adjust the batch to match.
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Old 06-14-2012, 02:31 PM   #6
southlake333
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Jun 2012
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I think I just found my answer:

http://www.bluestemwine.com/document...teningWine.pdf

Thanks for the input!

 
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Old 06-14-2012, 02:34 PM   #7
cyberlord
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Yup that about wraps it up.
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Old 06-14-2012, 03:32 PM   #8
roadymi
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Quote:
Originally Posted by southlake333 View Post
I think I just found my answer:

http://www.bluestemwine.com/document...teningWine.pdf

Thanks for the input!
Good explanation except I've always been led to believe that you need to use Sorbate along with Sulphite to properly stabilize a sweet wine.
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Reality is an illusion that occurs due to the lack of alcohol.
Give a man a beer, he'll drink for the day.Teach a man to brew, he'll be drunk the rest of his life.
I have 8 carboys, 8 cornies, 5-1 gal jugs, 200 wine bottles, 10 cases of beer bottles and a nice assortment of flip tops....My goal is to keep them at least 50% occupied

 
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Old 06-14-2012, 07:26 PM   #9
divi2323
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Oct 2011
Blue Island, IL
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You're bottling way too early. 1.020 is VERY sweet. Let it finish out more before you stabilize and bottle it. You can always backsweeten to taste once it has fermented out dry at 1.000 or below

 
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Old 06-15-2012, 02:27 PM   #10
southlake333
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Jun 2012
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divi2323, I know I'm bottling early but that was the point this round. I was attempting to do a quick test on a 1 gallon batch to help me judge how to properly finish out 2 x 6 gallon batches I have running. The 6 gallon batches will bulk age for longer, but since I've never sweetened before, I didn't know exactly what to expect. Better to mess up and throw out 1 gallon after 2 weeks than 6 gallons after 3 months!

 
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